What do pickles, cheese and red velvet cupcakes have to do with Chef Louie Joscon? Only one way to find out in our continuing interview with Red Table. If you haven't already checked out Part One, here's your chance. Stay tuned for something meaty tomorrow.
Hardest lesson you've learned:
At a time of need, the people you expect to be there for you…may never show up physically, mentally, or sadly, both. The right people will come thru for you.
What would your last meal on Earth be?
My wife's spaghetti with turkey meat sauce…it is so good and lets me know I am loved.
Who's your hero, culinary or otherwise?
Tell us about your foodservice industry background:
I started in my mom's kitchen in Fullerton, peeling and chopping garlic. Then to a busboy, a dishwasher, prep cook, then line cook….to where I am today. During my busboy days, a waiter had asked me to make a salad. He was so impressed I started doing it all the time. I attended the California Culinary Academy in the late 1980s. After graduation, I joined my brother, who was the executive chef at Antonello at the time and learned the craft of Italian food. Then I joined forces with Nancy Wilhelm and Sorrento Grille.
Conceptually, what makes Red Table different from other restaurants?
We want guests to help themselves when they dine here. It's similar to Panera or Pei Wei in that they walk up to a register, but there are many seating options (bar, booths, tables, or the red communal table). Daily specials in the kitchen and bar are also available. We are trying to make guests feel as comfortable as possible by giving them options.
We noticed you have a blog. Who's updating it?
That would be Taylor Kalander, our marketing guru.
Tell us about the team behind Red Table?
Sandy is the hospitality wizard, and has been in the business for years. She handles everything with such finesse. Cosette is a financial guru; she knows business and numbers. Taylor is our superstar marketing person. I'm the restaurant/food guy. We started this project about a year ago.
Explain the reasoning behind the red in Red Table:
Red – Relax, Eat and Drink. The color of passion and love. To stop and enjoy a meal with family and friends.
Your menu is meant to be shared, but if you wanted an item all to yourself, what would you be eating?
The Red Table cupcake made of red velvet. It reminds me of my wife and her joy of baking. It's an ode to my daughter's favorite cupcake. Oh, and it's really good!
What dish would you tell newcomers to Red Table to try first?
Fresh pickles…the dish that my daughter and I created together. We went to a place where we loved their pickles, and they ran out one day. We went to the store, but didn't like the jars; so we bought our own pickles, dill, vinegar, chili flakes, salt, pepper, etc. We split them in half, and tossed them up.
What would you be doing if you weren't in this business?
I would be an astronaut. I want to find out if the moon is made of cheese!
What advice do you have for those who might be thinking about a career in food?
Similar to any career…choose it for the love of it.
What do you see yourself doing in five years? Ten years?
Doing just the same as I am doing now…continuing to grow as a dad, cooking from the heart, expanding my knowledge of food and the hospitality business and hopefully with a few more restaurants with passionate team members serving more guests.